As someone who tentatively calls himself a poet, I have a lot of admiration for Rowan. He is an incredibly talented poet who found something that many lack; a vision for a project. He also found something that even many more lack; the motivation and bravery to make that project.
That project was to deliver poetry, door-to-door, to the people of the north-east, writing for them, and about them. This is what this show is about.
It starts with a really engaging poem about the premise itself, a poem he delivered on the doorsteps of people whilst doing the project. Rowan uses the craft of performance poetry very adeptly in order to bring different dimensions to the show – along with excellent use of SFX.
The poems he reads that were written for the people and about the people have the heart and soul of those people. However, this show goes deeper than merely using interesting prompts to write verse.
It is about breaking the stereotypes of those we would consider as ‘rough types’ – living on council estates such as the Byker Wall or the street in Stockton where Benefits Street was filmed. The poems highlight that these people can be surprising and wonderful, the true message behind the show – one fine example is of a homeless man sitting at a public piano, being derided until he starts to play beautifully.
As the narrative of Rowan’s project develops, we learn of disappointment of being messed around and let down by the BBC, which impacted on promises he made to the real people. He tells of giving up his control of the project and wonders exactly for whom he was writing the poetry. It is at this moment, the poetry becomes wonderfully introspective.
Rowan is fantastic at what he does, bringing this story to life through his verse and his performance.
Rowan McCabe: Door-To-Door Poetry.
The Banshee Labyrinth.
Written by Christopher Moriarty.